I'm an Airbnb host in Ukraine. I've made $3,000 from donation 'bookings' and used it to support our army.
- As the Russian invasion of
Ukrainecontinues, some Ukrainians are receiving funding from an unlikely source: Airbnbbookings.
- The customers don't plan to use the stays. Instead, they're booking them as a donation method.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with an Airbnb owner in Ukraine. They asked to remain anonymous to protect their privacy, but their identity and the claims in this story have been verified by Insider. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
As the owner of three Airbnb properties around the city of Kyiv, I've been so touched by the amount of people who are reserving stays at my properties as a way of getting money to Ukrainians in need. I've made around $3,000 through 30 reservations from people in places like the United States, Germany, England, Italy, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. These people obviously have no intention of coming to visit Ukraine right now, but they want to help — and they've found a creative way to do so.
I'm so thankful for people finding these creative ways to help. I've been able to support the Ukrainian military with the money people have spent on my Airbnb properties, and some of the people making reservations send heartfelt messages.
"We won't be coming to stay, but we will pay for our accommodation," one of my booking messages read. "Please keep safe, and I hope that there will be peace once more."
"My husband and I just wanted to support you during this difficult time that your country and the whole world is going through," another reservation said. "Hopefully all this ends soon, our prayers are with Ukraine! You are not alone."
Another message simply read: "Hello, I found your accommodation on the internet. I went through this site to help the Ukrainian[s]. Can I help you?"
Before the war broke out, owning properties in Ukraine was a good source of income. But of course, the reservations petered out quickly as the war started. Now, reservations are coming in from people who are simply trying to send money directly to Ukrainians. At least with my properties, the money will go where it is needed the most and we are grateful for their help.
I'm staying in my apartment in Kyiv with my wife and my 17-year-old daughter. My parents are 60 miles south of the city, where they live in a small rural hut. Though they're in a rural area, they have a wooden stove, a well for water, and food. We keep in contact with them to make sure they're as safe as possible.
Luckily, there's currently no shelling in the center of Kyiv where we live, but we know this can change at any time. We still have electricity, water, heat, mobile networks, and internet access. We can still buy basic food and supplies, and there are underground shelters in case of bombs.
I want people to know that Ukrainian
(Editor's note: Not all Airbnbs in Ukraine are connected to small local hosts. As with any major world event, it's important to research where your donations are going. This Skift story has good tips on how.)
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